If making the months-long journey to Mars sounds a bit outside your comfort zone, how about a luxurious week cruising around the moon? A century from now, according to Richard Branson, such a journey may be as common as visiting Disney World or traveling across the sea. Of course, the 66-year-old billionaire is keen to make the experience as comfortable as possible — just ike his other brands here on Earth.
"I'd like to have really sexy Virgin hotels in space where people can go and stay in pods, head off in little spaceships around the moon, where they wake up in the morning and then they go back to their pods in the evening," he told Mashable during a Facebook Live interview.
While Branson loves to divine the future, he says his more pressing concern is enabling the creation of a more connected planet. To that end, he's eager to move forward on the launch of his satellite constellation project. The high-tech campaign would see the deployment of a fleet of 648 micro-satellites capable of providing "low-latency, high-speed Internet access" directly to small user-based terminals all around the world.
"Imagine the possibilities for the three billion people in hard-to-reach areas who are currently not connected," Branson said last year. "We're excited for the opportunity for Virgin Galactic's LauncherOne program to help make it possible through low cost, reliable and frequent satellite launches."
As for Virgin Galactic's space tourism plans, the company is slowly putting its new Virgin Spaceship Unity craft through the early stages of aerial testing. Last month, the craft soared in the air for the first time under the wings of its massive mothership, marking a return to the skies for the space company since a tragic accident in 2014.
While Branson has stopped giving deadlines for when he believes the first tourists might hitch a ride to space, he still firmly believes the experience is one that eventually will be pursued by nearly everyone.
"Only 500 people have ever been to space," he told Mashable. "I think it's important that many people can go to space to look back on our beautiful Earth and see how fragile and beautiful it is. And genuinely speaking, those people come back with a determination to look after it."